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The Spring 2023 Anime Preview Guide
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear—Punch!

How would you rate episode 1 of
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear Punch! (TV 2) ?
Community score: 3.8

How would you rate episode 2 of
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear Punch! (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.1

What is this?


Fifteen-year-old Yuna prefers staying home and obsessively playing her favorite VRMMO game to doing anything else, including going to school. When a strange new update gives her a one-of-a-kind bear outfit that comes with overpowered abilities, Yuna is torn: the outfit is unbearably cute, but too embarrassing to wear in-game. But then she suddenly finds herself transported into the world of the game, facing down monsters and magic for real, and the bear suit becomes her best weapon.

Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear Punch! is the second anime season based on Kumanano and 029's light novels and streams on Crunchyroll on Mondays.

How was the first episode?

Richard Eisenbeis

I'm going to level with you. Back in 2020, I reviewed every episode of the first season of Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear right here on ANN. It was easily my least favorite weekly review ever. This is not because it's bad—it's not. The characters are consistent and there aren't any glaring plot holes or inconsistencies with the setting. However, there is almost nothing in the way of character growth, and anything resembling dramatic tension is naught but a faraway dream.

Judging by the first episode of this new season, nothing has changed. We're basically thrown right back into things where we left off. No time is spent reminding us of what happened in the first season or who the important characters are—well, other than the storybook recap of that season's first episode.

Our actual plot for this episode centers around a “horde” of orcs (which means three or four, I guess) taking over the area's honey tree, basically cutting off all honey production. As usual, Yuna heads off to fix the problem but is faced with a dilemma: the orcs are beating up the bears around the tree. Thinking that the bears will mess with production just as much as the orcs have, Yuna wonders if she should kill both or just stick to her mission. However, when she sees the cute baby bears about to die, she steps in and kills all the orcs, leaving the bears alive and well.

So, you may be asking yourself, what are the consequences of her actions? Are the honey harvesters attacked by the bears? Or all the bears killed by another group of adventurers as an extra cost? The simple answer: There are no consequences, of course. As it turns out the bears are friendly and have long protected the honey harvesters in exchange for unrestricted access to the tree itself. Or to put it another way, there never was a dilemma to being with! It was all in Yuna's head. This is pretty much par for the course.

Other than that, this episode is basically all about showing how much of a doormat Yuna is. She's browbeaten into 1) writing a children's picture book, 2) giving away the production rights to said book, 3) dealing with the aforementioned orc problem, 4) disclosing her secret pudding recipe, and 5) becoming the escort for a group of noble students her own age. It's kind of hard to watch how everyone exploits her because they know if they press hard enough, she'll give in. Honestly, if the arc for this season was Yuna learning to say “no” and set boundaries with her friends, it might actually be worth a watch. However, the sad truth is that having the supporting cast force Yuna into doing things is the only way to make the story happen. Without their nagging, she'd just sit at home and eat sweets all day—which would make the anime even more boring than it already is.

All in all, Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear Punch! is more of the same. If you liked the first season, you'll like this one. If not, you won't. End of story.

Monique Thomas

The saga of the high school shut-in who became the kigirumi-clad guardian of her favorite video game fantasy world was not high on my list of demands for second season, but I'll happily embrace it. Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear has always been quite the cozy sit-down show. I'd argue that its laid-back and carefree attitude gives it an upper paw against its more self-serious isekai contemporaries.

Bear Punch! pretty much picks off where the first season left off: Yuna is now enjoying bare necessities of life in the otherworld, partaking in honey-soaked bear-shaped pancakes at her own restaurant, only to be interrupted by a monster-related problem that only her very capable claws can handle. Only a little time is spent retracing previous season's tracks, but as someone who didn't have a strong memory of the first season, the business-as-usual tone of the setting did enough to catch me up with some characters and events. However, newbies would probably be better off just starting with the first season.

In terms of execution, the dialogue between characters is on point, with Yuna's interjections and colorful personality giving plenty of laughs and cute moments to put the audience at ease. The world is as bright and colorful as the storybook she crafts for the young princess. While I'd never describe Kuma Bear as particularly lavish art, the occasional strong attention to detail brings certain scenes to life, from bear-shaped sparkles to Yuna clenching her plush fist. Unfortunately, the brief action in this episode happens to be the most lackluster part of it. The previous season had a little more pizzazz when it came to Yuna's ridiculous attacks, but so far, Bear Punch! lacks some of its predecessor's power. Several key off-model moments keep the show from becoming an above-average production.

Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear Punch! probably won't impress anyone who hasn't witnessed the first season's absurdity, but those who recognize Kuma Bear's humble charms have little to beware. While I wouldn't go around downplaying the dangerous potential of bears, Bear Punch is perfect for anyone looking to receive a nice cuddly bear hug with their seasonal lineup.

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